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Lightning as Proxy for VIL and/or Echo Tops (ET)

Posted On: May 6, 2008 - By: CIRA Web


J. Braun

Here is a paper/discussion presented at this year’s 13th Conference on Aviation, Range, and Aerospace Meteorology by Haig Iskenderian (from MIT) titled, “Cloud-to-Ground Lightning as a Proxy for Nowcasts of VIL and Echo Tops.”  Although geared toward the aviation community, this inforamtion can be valuable to any WFO with forecasting/warning duties in their CWA in which radar coverage is depleated, such as: 1) sparse at the edges with no good adjacent radar coverage. 2) Has terrain/city/etc blockage. 3) A coastal office with no radar coverage offshore, etc. 4) Radar outages.

Relationship proxy determinations have been sought between cloud-to-ground lightning data and the radar fields of VIL and echo tops for use in the event of degraded or lost radar data. A probability matching methodology was applied to lightning and radar data to develop the proxy relationships.

It’s worth taking note of if for no other reason than to aid in those tricky warning situations when just a little bit more info is needed.  “To issue, or to not issue…that is the question.”


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